BAE Systems tests rocket laser guidance kits for anti-drone role
BAE Systems’ APKWS laser guidance kits have undergone successful testing in a counter-UAS (C-UAS) mission led by the US DoD's Joint Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Office (JCO).
The testing against Class 2 UAS enables the fielding of precision-guided rockets to partner nations around the world, BAE Systems said.
The APKWS technology converts unguided rockets into smart munitions for precise strikes on soft and lightly armoured targets.
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A newly developed proximity fuse for the standard M151 warhead allows the laser guidance kits to target Class 2 and Class 3 drones that weigh less than 25kg, retaining the legacy point denotation capability for maximum flexibility of the weapon in the field.
According to BAE Systems, APKWS provides a cost-effective solution that enables rockets to engage and destroy drones with unprecedented precision at a fraction of the cost of existing C-UAS systems.
In a US DoD-led exercise at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, the 70mm APKWS-guided rockets displayed 100% effectiveness when fired against drones weighing between 11 and 22,5kg and travelling at more than 160km/h.
The APKWS C-UAS solution is platform agnostic, permitting multiple options to accelerate fielding.
Aimee D’Onofrio, director of precision guidance and sensing solutions at BAE Systems, said: ‘Our engineers’ passion for APKWS technology led to the development of this new product designed to meet drones head-on.
‘This is a solution that comes at a remarkably affordable price point, and with APKWS already at full-rate production, we can ramp up to 25,000 units per year to make an immediate impact.’
The APKWS guidance kits are manufactured at BAE Systems’ facility in Hudson, New Hampshire. The kits are available to US allies through Foreign Military Sales.
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